Cooking a fillet steak, also known as a filet mignon, is all about preserving its tenderness and flavor. The tenderloin is already the most tender and least fatty steak available. We do not recommend dry aging the tenderloin alone, however, if you can purchase the entire bone in T-Bone Sub-primal, then age it and butcher into steaks.
Here's a step-by-step guide to achieving the best results:
- Fillet steak (1 to 1.5 inches thick)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Olive oil or high smoke point oil (e.g., canola, grapeseed, or avocado oil)
- Butter (optional)
- Garlic cloves (optional)
- Fresh herbs (optional, e.g., thyme, rosemary)
- Choose a quality cut: Start with a good-quality fillet steak. Look for well-marbled, tender cuts that are about 1 to 1.5 inches thick. Allow the steak to come to room temperature before cooking by taking it out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking.
- Season the steak: Pat the steak dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Season it generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper on all sides. This helps enhance the flavor of the meat.
- Preheat the pan: Use a heavy-bottomed skillet or frying pan, preferably cast iron, and heat it over medium-high to high heat. You want the pan to be very hot to create a nice sear on the steak.
- Add oil: Once the pan is hot, add a little oil to coat the bottom. You want just enough oil to create a thin layer, as the fat in the steak will render during cooking.
- Sear the steak: Carefully place the seasoned steak in the hot pan. Allow it to sear without moving it for about 2-3 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the steak and your desired level of doneness. This will create a delicious crust on the outside of the steak.
- Optional: Enhance the flavor: If desired, add a knob of butter to the pan along with some crushed garlic cloves and fresh herbs (like thyme or rosemary). Baste the steak with the melted butter and aromatics for extra flavor.
- Monitor internal temperature: Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the steak. For a medium-rare doneness, aim for an internal temperature of around 130-135°F (55-57°C). Keep in mind that the steak will continue to cook slightly after you remove it from the heat.
- Rest the steak: Once the desired doneness is reached, remove the steak from the pan and let it rest on a cutting board or a plate for about 5 minutes. Resting allows the juices to redistribute within the meat, resulting in a more tender and flavorful steak.
- Slice and serve: After resting, slice the steak against the grain to ensure maximum tenderness. Serve it as is or with your favorite side dishes.
Remember that cooking times can vary based on the thickness of the steak and the heat of your stove, so using a meat thermometer is the most reliable way to achieve the perfect doneness. With practice, you'll be able to master the art of cooking fillet steak to perfection!